The most frequent question I get asked is what exactly do you do? To which I reply: everything. And, as far as I know this isn´t a smug answer, it´s true! And its part of the reason I love being a Kiva Fellow: no two days are the same.
Last week, I started by giving three consecutive powerpoint presentations on the differences in policies and the treatment on Kiva of group loans as compared to individual ones. A group loan is one where, in the case of FAPE, a group of 10 to 35 women meet bimonthly to turn in either receipts or straight cash in the payments of their loans (all smaller amounts then individual loans). These loans are covered by a group guarantee where each the group members cover each other in case of default.
My week got interrupted by the robbery tuesday as we spent half the day getting the police report and the other half changing all my online accounts. However, in the afternoon, I did a sort of check-up on FAPE`s general repayment reporting practices on Kiva. I identified problems and worked towards solutions, and spent a lot of time trying to get to know their system better.
The next day, I gave a capacitacion–the fancy spanish way for saying a training–for the guy who will start uploading loans on Kiva, as well as a basic overview of how Kiva works. Afterwards, I continued to work on the repayment information that FAPE reports.
On Thursday, I went to the field with the general manager and one of the coordinators in Chimaltenango. We traveled to Tecpan where we had several “difficult conversations”. Then, I saw first hand that sometimes being a debt collector isn´t fun; you realize that you are helping people through microfinance, but then to maintain organizational viability your clients must repay. That day, we visited a handful of delinquent clients and some really responsible ones and I was able to take some flip video and do journal updates on the borrowers.
The week ended with the weekly devotional here at FAPE on Friday morning followed by me frantically working to put together a powerpoint presentation on group loans that could be shown to the entire organization at 11am. At least in college I learned two things, how to do stuff last minute and how to do presentations (thanks Pepperdine!). However, standing up in front of 40 people and giving an hour long presentation about complex financial ideas is a bit nerve racking…
Every day has a little twist that keeps me on my toes and makes it fun. From meeting borrowers to training the office staff, the fellowship has been rewarding and challenging. However, at this point, I feel like I´m rambling. I would love to here your guy`s comments on what you would like to here me write about in the future!